This is a well-known rule that holds true in many areas of life. In our case, the point is not that people are stupid (although I’m certainly not ruling it out), the point is that people are absolutely inundated with things to do and know. We’re drowning in everyday life. (Can you see the bubble of air floating to the top?)
As such, keeping things as simple as possible is the best rule of thumb. If I’m looking for waterproof stain for my deck, and am overwhelmed by the information or wording on your site, I’ll likely run. I’ll put this task off or go to another site that speaks in a less frightening manner. Just tell me what I need and why it benefits me in as few words as possible. Super. Done.
What if your business IS very complex? Make it simpler. Break it down. Create a ‘default’ plan for your average client. Don’t block your own sales. I can’t say this often enough. Don’t block your own sales.
Recently I was browsing the web to buy a new laptop. I work with computers every single day and have zero idea what half of the options were. Were they important? Possibly. Was I overwhelmed? Yep.
I’m SO tired of having to know a great deal about EVERYTHING in life just to even make a simple purchase. I’m inundated and I’m not alone. What I appreciated was that the options were all set to a default that most people would need or want. That way, if I had no clue, I could leave them as is. If I knew something specific that I wanted, I could make that change.
Be very clear that you’ll never get a visitor to your site who has no distractions. Even if these distractions aren’t in the room, they’re in your reader’s mind. Can your site be simply navigated and understood even with distractions and other thoughts? If yes, you’re golden. If not, hoping for a totally focused visitor is not accepting the truth of today’s society (but yes, I know it sucks).
Do you want customers only when their baby isn’t crying or even when their baby is crying? Life happens either way. You can choose to make your company and products a part of their lives as they are, or not at all.
K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple, Savvy.